Heritage no barrier to accessibility

A street in medieval Chester, UK. Heritage no barrier to accessibility.
A street in Chester, UK

Medieval cities with cobblestones, castles and Roman city walls are not the most disability-friendly places. And they are not easy to make accessible either. However, heritage is no barrier to accessibility in five European cities. They’ve made accessibility a top priority thanks to technology, design and engineering.

The five cities are the Dutch towns of Breda and Rotterdam, Lyon in France, Slovenia’s Ljubljana, and Chester in the UK. The motivation is that these are popular tourist destinations. These examples show that where there is a will there is a way. 

Some of the solutions are:

    • lifting cobblestones, slicing them and re-laying them upside down
    • an app that lets you tell the council about paving issues and follows progress until the remedial work is completed
    • sound beacons that tell blind people when and what bus or tram is pulling into the stop
    • an app for the most accessible restaurants, hotels and hotspots
    • building cascading ramps to the upper walkways of ancient city walls 

Part of the motivation is the tourist trade, both nationally and internationally. However, the EU also takes inclusion seriously and gives access awards to cities that prioritise accessibility in urban planning. You can read more about each city in an article on the website of a Swiss wealth management company. 

The title of the article is Cities without barriers. Heritage is no longer an excuse for exclusion.

 

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